Patrick Reed prepares for raucous reception at famed 17th

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA (AP) — Patrick Reed has a plan for the famed par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

“Just hit it in the middle of the green and take your medicine,” he said following his final practice round yesterday before The Players Championship.

Reed was referring to his scorecard. He might as well have been talking about his spectators.

Reed is sure to hear some cheers and more jeers at one of golf’s most notorious holes, the one where casual fans spend countless hours raucously rooting for balls to find the murky water. The island green has taken centre stage at the Stadium Course for decades and become a hot spot for hecklers.

And with Reed having become public enemy number one on the PGA Tour, his first trek at No. 17 could be comical or cringe-worthy.

Reed insisted nothing said would bother him.

“When I’m out there and I get inside the ropes, I’m full-on focussing about golf,” he said, adding that he spends a considerable amount of time discussing shots with his caddie and brother-in-law, Kessler Karain.

“That’s all the preparation we do during the week is to figure out, ‘OK, what greens are faster than others? What putts are faster than others and vice versa?’

“And, for us, we get so in tuned in golf that everything that goes on around us, it doesn’t matter. We’re out there to grind and to go out and play good golf.”

What dogs Reed is a moment in the third round at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, when his ball was in an awful lie in the waste area on the 11th hole. Video clearly showed him twice swiping away sand behind his ball. In the scoring room afterward, Reed accepted the two-shot penalty, all while saying a different camera angle would have shown his club wasn’t as close to the ball as it looked and he didn’t know his club touched the sand. Twice.

“Well, winning always helps everything,” he said.

“But, really, at the end of the day, the noise goes away once y’all decide it goes away. I feel like the players and all of us have moved on, but at the end of the day all we can do is go out and continue playing good golf and doing what we’re supposed to do.”